Jewish man beaten at Brooklyn train station in apparent anti-Semitic attack

Three assailants beat an identifiably Jewish man while shouting anti-Semitic epithets at a Brooklyn train station.

A bystander who intervened in the attack on Monday in the Williamsburg neighborhood also was attacked, the New York Daily News reported, citing the website 

The Jewish man, who was identified as a tourist from Israel, was beaten with his own umbrella after he discovered them trying to take something out of his pocket. They called him a ‘dirty bloody Jew’ and a ‘f—ing Jew’ during the attack, according to the newspaper.

The attackers fled on a Manhattan-bound train.

The New York Police Department’s hate crimes unit is investigating the incident, The Associated Press reported.

European Jewish Congress demands stronger response to spate of anti-Semitic attacks

The European Jewish Congress (EJC) is demanding a more proactive response to the recent escalation in anti-Semitic attacks around Europe, which its leader called “smaller tremors before a massive earthquake.”

On Thursday, a French Jewish teenager, who attends the Toulouse school where Islamist gunman Mohamed Merah shot dead three children and a teacher in March, was attacked while traveling by train between Toulouse and Lyon.

“While we appreciate the strong condemnation and quick reaction by the French Interior Ministry after this attack, we call on authorities to take a more proactive approach so there would be no reason for statements of regret and denunciation,” Dr. Moshe Kantor, President of the EJC said. “All these smaller attacks remind me of smaller tremors before a massive earthquake. The Jewish community cannot afford to be subject to an earthquake and the authorities cannot say that the writing was not on the wall.”

In recent days, shots were fired at a yeshiva in Manchester, England, swastikas and death threats sprayed on a Jewish Agency building in Russia, a rabbi in France assaulted while riding the subway and Jewish cemeteries desecrated in Germany.

The European Jewish Congress has been leading an awareness campaign among European authorities about ways to deal with the growing attacks against Jews on the continent.

The EJC has outlined steps such as: legislative efforts to ban any form of incitement; and equipping authorities with tools to confront attempts at the expansion of terrorist and violent activities against Jewish communities.

“In the past pogroms were perpetuated to strike fear and terror into Jewish communities,” Serge Cwajgenbaum, Secretary General of the EJC said. “These attacks feel like mini-pogroms because they are installing a fear in some communities of Europe that Jews have not known for many years.”

French teen is beaten in anti-Semitic attack on train

A French Jewish teenager was the victim of a violent anti-Semitic attack on a train traveling between Toulouse and Lyon.

The victim, 17, reportedly is a student at Ozar Hatorah school in Toulouse, where an Islamist gunman shot and killed three students and a teacher in March.

He was accosted verbally before he was beaten by two assailants Wednesday night, the French news service AFP reported. Another passenger and train conductors reportedly came to his aid.

The teen was wearing what the French Interior Ministry called “a distinctive religious symbol,” according to AFP.

Railroad authorities reported the assailants to police but neither had been called in for questioning by Thursday morning.

The French Jewish umbrella group CRIF in a statement called the attack “another development in the worrying trend of anti-Semitism in our country.”

Anti-Semitism Hits France

A fresh outburst of anti-Semitic violence throughout France has Jewish leaders fearing the return of Kristallnacht.

The reference to the horrors of Nazi Germany, issued by French Jewish leader Jean Kahn, hit the French dailies, as police in Marseille were still investigating a fire that reduced a synagogue to ashes.

The incident punctuated a weekend of anti-Jewish aggression that included attacks on synagogues in Lyon and Strasbourg and a shooting at a kosher butcher shop near the southwestern city of Toulouse in which no one was injured.

In addition, a French Jewish couple was injured in a weekend attack in the southern part of the country.

The latest violence apparently was sparked by indignation aroused by pro-Palestinian demonstrations in France, Germany and Greece on Saturday.

Lyon and Strasbourg witnessed the largest of these protests, with turnouts estimated at 6,000 and 3,000, respectively, while police reported smaller showings in Toulouse and Marseille.

The first of the attacks took place Saturday morning before the protest in Lyon. According to an eyewitness, approximately 15 hooded men drove a car through the large wooden doors of a synagogue in the Jewish neighborhood of La Duchere and then set it on fire.

The other incidents occurred just hours after demonstrations, in which protesters carried banners that read "We are all Palestinians," "Sharon Assassin" and "Stop the Massacre of Palestinians."

In Toulouse, a man opened fire at a closed kosher butcher shop on Saturday evening, causing damage to the building’s facade. Hours later, vandals set fire to the doors of a synagogue in the eastern French city of Strasbourg, home to one of France’s largest and oldest communities of Ashkenazi Jews.

Firemen were able to extinguish the fires in Lyon and Strasbourg before they spread, but the arson in Marseilles completely leveled the 4,800-square-foot Or Aviv synagogue.

Reactions in the Jewish community ranged from hurt to outrage, but nobody seemed very surprised.

Commenting on the Toulouse attack, Rabbi David Layani said: "This new act comes after hundreds of others that have struck the French Jewish community in the last 18 months, following events in the Middle East which make the situation here extremely tense."

In Strasbourg, Jewish officials were quick to blame demonstrators for stirring up anti-Semitic hatred.

In the midst of a heated presidential election race, the two front-runners, President Jacques Chirac and Prime Minister Lionel Jospin, were quick to denounce the surge of anti-Jewish aggression.

Jospin said he was "revolted" by these "cowardly and absurd" acts.

Chirac, who has enraged Jewish leaders in the past by denying the problem of French anti-Semitism, condemned "with the utmost severity the brutal, hateful and unacceptable attack."

"Those responsible should be prosecuted and severely punished," he told the media.

Anti-Semitism has become an epidemic in neighborhoods where Jews and Arabs live side by side. While many Jews are still digesting the news of this latest outbreak, the initial responses of Jewish leaders indicate a shift in their perception of the problem.

Partly as a result of the connection between the pro-Arafat demonstrations and the latest anti-Semitic violence, French Jews appear more inclined to view these incidents as coordinated acts of terrorism than the irrational anger of Arab teens.